Relationships. Part and parcel of life, for most of us. And yet clear cut for none of us. All kinds of problems crop up when you’re in a relationship. At first, love feels invincible. But time and tide spare no bonds. Things happen that jeopardize the connection. People change. Feelings change. Feelings about people change. And one of the trickiest problems I’ve encountered is jealousy.
I used to be the most jealous partner ever. I guess I felt insufficient to start with, and every action on her part just rubbed it in. Wasn’t pretty, I know. But I’m a new man, now. I read the books. Did the meditating. Got myself some good old responsibility. I’ve learned plenty about myself. And I found the answer to my jealousy in something completely unexpected: Art.
My recommendation if you’re a jealous person who wants to turn a new leaf? Find new things to love. That’s right: Do the same thing you think everyone else is doing to make you jealous. I’m not talking about an affair. I’m talking about genuine love beyond the context of a relationship. Because by exploring how and why you love, you’ll start to understand how it can be complicated.
Things get complicated with my friends all the time. Because I do this thing with everyone, it’s called “respecting their privacy”. I know it’s not common around here, so I’ll break it down real simply. The idea is if you and I are friends, and we’ve got dirt, the dirt stays between us. I don’t want your wife to know about it. I don’t want my wife to know about it. I don’t want your best friend to know about it, nor do I want mine to know about it. It’s ours. Not ours, plus your entire network of personal connections. But this messes with some people. They can’t stand not knowing things.
Perfect example: My artist friends. I’m not sure why, but I’ve met some fiendishly interesting people over the years. One of them who’s been at the forefront of my mind recently — since we just started working together — is a small YouTuber from Siberia. Don’t get me wrong, I bring her up at every opportunity. And I love talking about her craft. But when people ask about the specific details of our personal conversations? That’s a hard no. It’s not like we’ve got boatloads of dirt. It’s just a principle of mine. Things we talk about are for us alone. And people can’t stand that.
Which brings us full circle back to how I overcame jealousy. It was art. That Siberian YouTuber I was talking about? I’ve never seen anything like her art before. Her specific blend of message, tone, and style is spectacular. Her videos move mountains. I don’t think “love” is a strong word to describe how I feel about her work. And when I realized that, I finally understood jealousy.
I believe jealousy stems from a misunderstanding of real love. It’s erratic. Spontaneous. It can attach itself to anything. And we can do nothing but go along for the ride. There are some things I’ll love more than anything else in the world, for the rest of my life. Like fighting. I was born a fighter, and I always will be. And certain artists whose work spoke to me at the right place and right time. And certain causes I’ve been thinking about since I was a child. The point is, people love many things. Random things. Expecting them to save all of it for you is silly. That’s not how it works. It’s supposed to be all over the place. After all, love’s shining quality is its ability to move us to do all the things we’d never do, all without knowing why.